Letters to the Editor, April 21, 2017
Santa Fe cannot afford to lose Santa Fe University of Art and Design. It, along with the New Mexico School for the Arts, brings talented young people to Santa Fe, enriching the community in countless ways. There are so many wealthy people living in Santa Fe or who vacation in Santa Fe who support the arts. Is there no way they and the local arts community can come together, as people did to save what is now the Lensic Performing Arts Center, to fund this important educational arts institution as a nonprofit educational university? Just as the Lensic was not demolished and, once restored, became a significant contributor to the arts and culture of Santa Fe, so must we save the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Once gone, it is probably gone forever. Our community will be much the poorer for the loss.
Breath of fresh air
Milan Simonich’s column (“Nobody’s morally superior in vote on soda tax,” April 17) regarding the sugary-beverages tax special election is baffling. Miming the points of the anti-crowd with vague “concerns” and insinuations is not helpful. I would much prefer he present his stance in the manner of Jeannie Oakes (“Let’s bring more pre-K to Santa Fe,” My View, April 16).
Oakes explains in detail the processes used to develop the plan for the tax as well as the administration of it from the educators, to budget, contracting and accountability. She is erudite and a breath of fresh air. If Simonich rebutted her points with the same amount of factuality, then I could give him some credit. Instead, his points seem to come from “a bad feeling.” The constraints and processes that Oakes elucidates cover every one of Simonich’s concerns.
My household doesn’t buy soda, but we do buy a lot of lemonade, punch and iced tea, which could all be subject to the sugar tax. If the tax passes, we won’t be the only ones who avoid it by shopping outside city limits in Española, Eldorado or Albuquerque.
Besides that, the mayor’s pre-K will be little more than glorified free baby-sitting. Who wants to pay for this pre-K nonsense?
Back to the basics
New Mexico public schools have the unfortunate distinction of being generally 50th in the nation — that means last. The current system is not working. More money is not the solution, and we don’t have any, anyway. So let’s try radical changes:
Increase the number of vocational programs. There is a lot of pride in being an employed electrician or an employed auto mechanic. Hire a better principal. The leadership of a school starts at the top. Take over Santa Fe University of Art and Design for public classrooms, instead of building or renovating new schools. If an eighth-grade child can only do fifth-grade math, put them in a fifth-grade math class. No one advances without the math basics. Go back to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Get rid of the state-required PARCC exams. What a piece of nonvalidated junk. More money would be nice, but let’s try some radical changes to help our kids, since the current education system is not working.
Be sweet. Vote no.
I am against the tax on sugary drinks. The assessment proposed on distributors will surely be passed on to consumers. We are already being taxed at a high rate. We already pay a higher fee at the parking meter. If you want a paper bag at the grocery store, it costs you a dime. Proponents claim that sugary drinks are to blame for obesity and diabetes. I disagree. I think it’s food — too much of it.
This tax will hurt the people who are least able to afford it — the poor and the young. Pre-K is a wonderful idea. Maybe we can fund it out of the $15 million surplus I’ve read about (“All is (not) fair in sugar wars,” Our View, April 6). Proponents want to make this a partisan issue. It’
Felipe J. Roibal
Not worth the pain or price
Mayor Javier Gonzales’ sugary-beverage tax is just another sin tax. A sin tax is a tax that condescending elitists use to discourage legal behavior they frown upon. Sin taxes are made palatable by linking them to some elite-perceived worthy endeavor — here, pre-K education. Is this endeavor worthy? A key finding of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation Report 2012-45 was that by the end of third grade, any “initial positive impacts” from pre-K in any of “the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices” had disappeared. Ergo, the mayor’s pre-K program will have no long-lasting educational effects. And what if the mayor’s sin tax successfully discourages people from drinking sugary drinks? Revenues will drop, possibly resulting in a shortfall. To make up for the shortfall, what core programs will suffer, or what new tax will the mayor propose to reach into taxpayer pockets to pay for a program that is essentially a baby-sitting service?
J. Patrick Kelley